First published in 2015, I’ve updated it for today. In an ideal world, I’ll be able to update it again next year, with a more optimistic tone.
The Wall Street Journal asked some questions on Labor Day 2012, and supplied some answers. Here are some of those questions and answers, which remain as valid this Labor Day.
- Q: How are America’s workers doing? Not good. Over the past decade, over the ups and downs of the economy, taking inflation into account, the compensation of the typical worker — wages and benefits—basically haven’t risen at all. … The Labor Department recently said that 6.1 million workers in 2009-2011 have lost jobs that they’d had for at least three years. Of those, 45% hadn’t found work as of January 2012. … Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday that unemployment is still two percentage points higher than normal….
- Q: Things ARE getting better, though. The US economy is creating jobs, right? Back in December 2007 when the recession began, there were about two jobless workers for every job opening. When the economy touched bottom in mid-2009, there were more than six unemployed for every job. At last count, the BLS says there were 3.4 jobless for every opening.
- Q: How much of this elevated unemployment is because the unemployed just don’t have the skills that employers are looking for right now? …the bulk of the evidence is a lot of the unemployment really is the old-fashioned kind: the kind that would go away if the economy was growing at a stronger pace. Mr. Bernanke said as much at the  Jackson Hole conference….
The Democratic Party President has taken a bad situation and done little to improve it, even though he’s had four more years in which to do so. He has, though, actively attacked businesses—the hirers—demonizing them, (over)regulating them, demanding to raise taxes on them.
At least as importantly, the current Democratic Party Presidential candidate has vowed to continue these Democratic policies, and to extend them. Even with nearly eight years of empirical data demonstrating the bankruptcy of these policies.
Under the new Trump administration, the jobs situation seems, at least superficially, to be improving, although still too slowly. The headline unemployment rate is at an historic low; however, the labor force participation rate—the denominator in that headline rate—remains at an historic low, also. And, wages aren’t growing as they would in a normal, more robust economic recovery.
Further, the Federal Reserve Bank management, aided and abetted by the Progressive-Democratic Party Representatives and Senators, are highly resistant to removing job- and job growth-restricting regulations that were emplaced 10 years ago (under Dodd-Frank, for instance) with the ostensible purpose of mitigating the Panic of 2008. With that dislocation long behind us, those regulations no longer serve a useful purpose.
Happy Labor Day.